“Some technicians did not report for night shift at Hyderabad on July 8. The airline is monitoring the situation at Hyderabad and Delhi closely. It says adequate measures have been put in place and that so far there are no delays or disruptions in flight schedules due to technician trouble,” say sources.
The airline is in the midst of a major management rejig with key top brass including CEO Ronojoy Dutta and chief commercial officer Willy Boulter on their way out. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines president and CEO Pieter Elbers will be take over as the next CEO to oversee IndiGo’s expansion in international skies. This transition period is proving to be a tough one for India’s largest airline by passenger carriage.
In the past few months, crew discontent has been brewing amid IndiGo — India’s only profitable airline before the pandemic struck — over continued pandemic-time pay cuts. It started with pilots planning mass leaves and IndiGo suspending some of them this April for violating “terms of employment and company’s code of conduct.”
Then on July 2, such a large number of IndiGo cabin crew went to walk-in interviews conducted by Tata Group’s Air India that 55% of its flights that day were delayed and a few even had to be cancelled. While IndiGo described this as a “one off” issue to the DGCA that had sent a response on the same, the regulator has directed the airline to compensate passengers of delayed flights as per rules (where delay was png enough to trigger fine payment).
Earlier this week, IndiGo further rolled back pandemic-time pay cuts for its pilots in a bid to stem discontent among them as both new (like Akasa) and old (like Air India) players are on a hiring spree for trained crew members. It rolled back another 8% of Covid-time pay cuts and switched back to a rostering system that will see pilots earn more but have fewer leaves. IndiGo had cut salaries by about 28% at the peak of Covid and now after two partial roll backs, current pay is now lower by about 16% from pre-2020 levels. It has also reinstated some allowances for pilots.
A mail written by IndiGo AMTs to the airline management protests the difference in pay between them and aircraft maintenance engineers (AME). AMTs are “highly qualified technical staff who have undergone a specialised AME course post completion allowing them to work on aircraft maintenance… Most AMTs are paid between Rs 20,000 and Rs 30,000… Trainee AMTs are contracted for 12 months adjust Rs 8,000 (per month) as cheap labour…. Request you to intervene and address (this) issue.”